Scorned Russian Mothers Use Putin’s Draft to Rat Out Deadbeat Exes
Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order has failed miserably to stoke patriotism among most ordinary Russians—and it appears not to have had much success on the battlefield, but there is at least one unexpected perk for some women: dealing with deadbeat ex-husbands.
“Immediately after Putin’s speech, the idea came to me: if my ex-husband goes to war, we would be paid back because he will get official payments into an account that can’t be hidden [from the courts],” one woman told the investigative outlet Verstka.
Identified only by the pseudonym Irina, she is one of several women who says she ratted out her ex to military officials in the hopes of finally making him pay for abandoning his own child.
Irina said she’d been “young and stupid” when she first got married and wound up divorcing her husband after his “problems with alcohol” began, and he started stealing jewelry from her and her parents. Later, after she filed for divorce more than a decade ago, she learned he’d used her name to take out a loan that had since left her tens of thousands of dollars in debt. And despite numerous court proceedings, she said, he’d absconded on years worth of child support and alimony payments.
That’s when she said she learned she wasn’t the only woman wondering if Putin’s mobilization—and the promise of military payments—might be a way to make things right. According to her, she knows dozens of other women in the same boat who’ve started an online community to discuss the scheme.
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“We get together in a chat and support each other, sharing experiences and information. Right now there are about 70 people,” she said.
“I will go [to the military commissar] and hand over his personal information. I want them to take him,” she said. “It seems to me that he won’t be able to handle military action: he doesn’t have enough training or strength. Of course, I’ve thought about how I’d feel if I died there. But my son and I already haven’t seen or heard from him in 12 years, although we live in the same city… So if they do kill him, it will even be good: the child will be compensated.”
At least three other women interviewed by Verstka said they’d made the same decision.
“Yesterday I wrote an appeal to the bailiffs with a request to petition the military authorities to take my ex-husband to fight. I don’t know how effective this mechanism is, but why not?” said Lilia, who noted that her ex had not paid alimony or taken part in their daughter’s upbringing for at least 13 years.
“To be honest, I don’t care if my ex-husband is able to withstand the pressure on the front and how long he will last there. If women endure hard physical labor, then why can’t a grown man in his prime?”
“I understand that there is a risk of death in the ‘special operation.’ But for me, my ex-husband, as a person, died a long time ago. If he is sent to fight and doesn’t survive, I will at least receive official confirmation that he does not exist—and, accordingly, all the payments due to his inheritors,” she said, adding: “I am not really thinking about have done He hasn’t thought about how his daughter is living all these years, what she’s eating. And if she eats at all.”
Yekaterina, another mother, echoed that sentiment, noting that while “our laws protect slimeballs who run from child support,” Putin’s so-called “special military operation” does not.
“After the announcement of mobilization, I began to read in communities on VK what girls who have also not received child support for years were writing. They think the military registration and enlistment office finds alimony dodgers faster than the bailiffs. I decided to act: I wrote to the military registration and enlistment office … and, of course, handed over all his personal data.”
She went on to note that her ex-husband was mostly a “drunk” who probably wouldn’t be too impressive on the battlefield, but said she felt no pity for him.
“I don’t think I should feel sorry for him. In four years, not once did he get in touch with his son, even though he lives [24 miles] from us. And when, despite all of that, the child sees his own father in every man who passes, I have only one thought: it’s better if he dies so I can at least take my son to the grave.”
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